Painter 12 Brush Review (and Photoshop, sort of)

I bought Painter 12 a while back and I really like it (and if you change to the Legacy Brush Resize tool, it's fairly stable too, at least for me).

I tried to get familiar with more of the stock brushes this time around, so this review includes some new brushes, but some old brushes I really liked as well.  This is a compressed review though, for the full version look here.
My favorite new brush:  Real 2b Pencil.
Least favorite new brush:  Real Oils, any of them
Favorite new brush that has actually been around for a few versions of Painter: "Grainy Water" Blender
What I hated most of all: Photoshop CS5's Mixer Brush Tool

Just so you know what criteria I'm judging by, if a brush is easy to get the behavior I want out of it, and the results look pretty good, then it is a good brush.  Brushes that are clumsy or non-intuitive get a low rating, regardless as to how good they look.  I want efficiency in painting more than anything else, and if I feel like I'm wrestling the program, my joy in painting just disappears.

So here's some of the other brushes I spent some time with:
Painter 10+ (and maybe earlier versions)
Blenders> Grainy Water: 2 thumbs up, best blender even in Painter 12
Watercolor> Wet Wash Flat: the least offensive of the watercolors for actual painting
Watercolor> Diffuse Bristle: great for adding natural texture
Digital Watercolor> New Simple Watercolor: 2 thumbs up, best for adding color to drawings

Painter 12
Real 2b Pencil: 2 thumbs up.  Most useful for drawing.
Variable Chisel Tip Marker: 2 thumbs up when opacity control changed to "Pressure."  Corel gets Markers right.
Real Pastels/Chalk: 1 thumb up by themselves, but two thumbs up with Grainy Water Blender
Real Watercolors:  1 thumb down.  You can't predict what they are going to do!
Real Oils: 2 thumbs down (nice looking, but painful to use)

Photoshop CS5 (CS5 doesn't have real stock brushes, so this is a review of the brush engine)
Basic brush tool: 1 thumb up if you use a Brush Preset that has some texture and add a little spacing/scatter/texture, 1 1/2 thumbs up when using dual brush functionality
Smudge tool:  2 thumbs down by itself, but if you modify it with a Preset, tie the strength to your pen's pressure, and adjust the spacing/scatter, you can get it to do some nice things.
Mixer Brush Tool:  Waste of effort.  Photoshop basically copied Painter's "Oils" controls, which are the most unwieldy part of Painter's brush engine.


DSM said...

Thanks for this thoughtful, intelligent post. With the holidays behind me; I'll get out my Painter 12 again.

Sakievich said...

Great review. Grainy Water has been around at least since version 6 (when I first started using Painter). Ryan Wood could probably tell you if it's older than that. It's still a favorite of mine.

Here's a tool I came across recently for photoshop that makes it more useable for me.

While I don't do much finished work digitally anymore (I think the last time I did a really rendered piece was the summer I worked for avalanche before going out to NYC). I still find it helpful for sketching and testing out ideas.

Moraes Junior said...

Love it! Could you review MyPaint brushes either? Cheerios

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